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There's a lot of detailed back story for you to draw from. But aside from the core Torean elements, you don't need to bother with any of it to get writing.

If all stories were written like science fiction stories Edit

The planes left from the city airport, which they reached using the city bi-rail. Ann had changed into her travelling outfit, which consisted of a light shirt in polycarbon-derived artifical fabric, which showed off her pert figure, without genetic enhancements, and dark blue pants made of textiles. Her attractive brown hair was uncovered.

When we craft strange worlds, there’s a temptation to explain all of the foreign details in a dense lecture. This is understandable! We’ve got a rich and vivid image in our minds of how the setting works, and we just want to show the reader that we really have worked it all out.

But my advice to you is don't sweat the details! Let your characters and your plot move the story ahead, and include details when they serve one or the other. You'll find that this takes a load off your mind, and lets you just get writing!

Space travel is dull Edit

The surprisingly large passenger area was equipped with soft benches, and windows through which they could look down at the countryside as they flew 11 km high at more than 800 km/h. There were nozzles for the pressurized air which kept the atmosphere in the cabin warm and comfortable despite the coldness of the stratosphere.

“I’m a little nervous,” Ann said, before the plane took off.

“There’s nothing to worry about,” he assured her. “These flights are entirely routine. You’re safer than you are in our ground transport cars!”

People in the Torean universe travel through space the way we travel through the air. There are people who commute from star system to star system. This fact is amazing to us, and we want to show off this glittering gem! We want to write about star drives and hyperspace and wormholes and reactionless thrusters and so on ad infinitum.

But when we read about two characters taking a trip, we're interested in the characters. Once technology becomes routine for them, it should be considered too routine for the writer to bother with.

Yes, Torei is hard to get to, but what's interesting about that is what sacrifices characters made to make the journey. Did it take six months of the traveller's life? Did it cost a princely sum? Was it an uncomfortable ride on a dodgy craft?

Information technology is dull Edit

He logged onto the central network using his personal computer, and waited while the system verified his identity. With a few keystrokes he entered an electronic ticketing system, and entered the codes for his point of departure and his destination. In moments the computer displayed a list of possible flights, and he picked the earliest one. Dollars were automatically deducted from his personal account to pay for the transaction.

You're using a computer right now to read this. I used one to write this. Almost all of the stories set on Torei are intended for reading online. Is this fact interesting enough to spend pages talking about in this wiki? Probably not. Computers are routine.

The approach taken in The Lead (and many stories after that) was simply to treat every reflective or transparent surface as a fully-functional touch-interface computer of some sort. The details don't matter except where they help the story move forward:

  • A lawyer causes the window between her and her client to display a contract.
  • A vanity mirror shows a pending message from a friend to the person sitting before it.
  • A character calls a friend from the glass countertop at a shop.
  • A character's goggles display information about objects in the field of view.

None of these things requires you to say words like multitouch or iPad or interactive. If you just keep letting your characters manipulate documents and videos wherever is convenient, the readers will get the point and not feel like they've been lectured to.

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